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Bengals Notes — Burrow speaks out, confidence in A.J. Green and the onside kick

Bengals notes on Joe Burrow, A.J. Green and the onside kick

Joe Burrow continues to be everything the Bengals thought they were getting when the drafted him with the top pick in April. 

He has led by his words and his actions this offseason. From arranging in-person workouts with his teammates — to speaking out about racial injustice in America — Burrow continues to be as advertised. 

There is plenty of pressure that comes with being the top pick, especially during an offseason full of uncertainty. Burrow hasn't seen Bengals head coach Zac Taylor, owner Mike Brown or any of his coaches in-person since the NFL Combine in February. 

He's a rookie quarterback that hasn't been able to get on the field with his new teammates. It's tough on every NFL player, especially rookies. 

He hasn't whined or pouted about the situation. Everything that was said about his intangibles and his ability to lead has been proven true since he was drafted. 

“I want to be the best player I can be," Burrow said in April. "I’ll have to get mental reps in from missing these minicamps and OTAs. I’ll have to get into the playbook really hard and go through the process of calling plays in the huddle. The thing about being in the huddle is you have to be stern in your voice. If you’re wavering and fumbling over your words, players will look and think, ‘What is this guy doing? Get him out.’ So that’s something I want to be focused on.”

Confidence in Green 

The Bengals remain confident in A.J. Green, even though he missed all of last season due to injury. 

The seven-time Pro Bowler will be 32-years-old in July, but they believe he can be a big part of their offense this season. 

"They are confident and they can base that on how he looked at the very end last season," Bengals play-by-play announcer Dan Hoard said on NFL Network. "There was no point in having him play at the end of last year. The Bengals only won two games. But he was practicing before games, getting out and working out during the pregame warmups prior to the last few games of last year and he looked like the old A.J. Green. They are very confident that he is going to be the player who went to the Pro Bowl in his first seven NFL seasons." 

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The Bengals placed the franchise tag on Green this offseason. He will earn nearly $18 million if the two sides can't reach a long-term deal by July 15. 

Green has missed 29 of the past 64 games due to injury. 

He is a perfect piece to help usher in the Burrow era in Cincinnati. He's quiet, confident and could rejuvenate his career with the Bengals, but he needs to stay healthy. 

Onside Kick

NFL owners decided to table the 4th-and-15 onside kick alternative in their virtual meeting last week.  

The league was reportedly split down the middle on the proposal, which needed 24 of 32 'yes' votes to be approved. 

It may not happen before the 2020 season, but the 4th-and-15 concept is sound. It's a rule the league should seriously consider adopting in the near future. 

There will likely be some tweaks. Maybe they make it 4th-and-20, not 4th-and-15. Stopping Lamar Jackson, Patrick Mahomes or Deshaun Watson on 4th-and-15 is tough, especially when their team has just scored and has the momentum. 

The onside kick rarely works. Only eight of 63 (12.7 percent) onside kick attempts were recovered last season according to NFL Research. There were only seven fourth-and-15s in 2019 and two were converted, which is a significantly higher success rate (28.6 percent).

It's only a matter of time before the NFL makes the change. It may not happen in 2020, but it should happen soon.